As President Donald Trump prepares to fight back against what could be a long, drawn-out war with House Democrats over an impeachment inquiry into his dealings with the Ukrainian president, he also finds himself the target of harsh criticism over his decision to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria.
According to CNN, that criticism may further increase as the outlet reported on Sunday that Defense Secretary Mark Esper revealed that Trump has ordered what little remained of U.S. troops out of the northern Syria region while attempting to explain why the president and the Pentagon came to that decision.
“We have American forces likely caught between two opposing, advancing armies and it’s a very untenable situation. I spoke with the President last night, after discussions with the rest of the national security team, and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria,” Esper said during an interview with CBS’ Face The Nation.
Esper said the decision was made after revelations of U.S.-friendly Kurdish forces were potentially in talks to make a deal with Syria and Russian backers to launch a counter-offensive against the invading Turkish forces — a plan that was reportedly in the works in the instance of a U.S. troop withdrawal.
The defense secretary claimed that the White House was only made aware of the deal within the last 24 hours, which apparently prompted the commander-in-chief to pull the plug on all remaining U.S. forces. CNN reported that a U.S. official they spoke with said the remaining troop withdrawal would not immediately take place, rather, it would happen over a period of “days to weeks.”
The president has taken fire from both sides of the political aisle for his decision to pull the troops out of the region — U.S. troops who fought alongside Kurdish forces to help eliminate the threat of ISIS terrorists.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, one of Trump’s top former allies and cabinet members, Gen. James Mattis, condemned Trump’s troop pullout over the weekend, claiming that the move would mean the “inevitable” reformation of the Islamic State terrorist group.
“You can pull your troops out, as President Obama learned the hard way, out of Iraq but the ‘enemy gets the vote’ as we say in the military. And in this case, if we don’t keep the pressure on then ISIS will resurge,” Mattis said during an interview on NBC’s Meet The Press.
Though Trump claimed he consulted with the Joint Chiefs of Staff before initiating the troop pullout that left Kurdish forces vulnerable to a planned Turkish attack, Pentagon officials reportedly said they were “completely blindsided” by the decision.